I’m still learning that. Even figuring out the list of things to learn, much less learning it is daunting. AND for sure one of the things you need is the stamina to keep working, doing hard, sometimes very hard work. Social Justice Work takes stamina. Work in congregations take stamina and I’m sure I’ll learn that providing pastoral care also requires stamina. Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt gave us an assignment of exploring our theological grounding. As a former New York Times journalist, she is giving us the gift of framing our theology in less than 500 words on one page. Why should we need more? This is what I wrote, focused on resilience and stamina:
My theological grounding is in the power of God. This isn’t the power that others may see, for I don’t understand God to be either omnipotent nor omniscient. I certainly don’t view God as somehow represented by someone who arrived on earth about 2000 years ago, or as someone sitting up there on a throne. Nor do I see God as doling out heaven tickets for those worthy enough to go up. Instead my belief in God is completely tied to God’s miraculous and unique power to use bad things as fodder to create good. World War 2 and its many atrocities were horrible. The existence of God as some others understand it (gender neutral pronoun) is called into question by those horrible events. For me, random terrible things happen because humans are capable of doing those things to one another, and because nature usually wins, and simply because shit happens. God is about the creation of wonder and blessings out of some of that horror. Eli Wiesel and Nelson Mandela prove to me that God exists in the midst of human horrors. Building community in the event of natural catastrophes proves to me that God exists. Human kindness in the wake of shit happening (heroes who jump into frozen water and save someone who was on a bridge that collapsed) reaffirms my view of God. No that magic doesn’t always happen, but it does happen often enough to affirm my beliefs. Again, it isn’t that the positive must balance, nor outweigh the negative, just that it is findable. Henri Nouwen in Wounded Healer seems to express something close to my belief when he talks about the usefulness of a healed (or sorta healed) wound in allowing you to become a minister. Yes, that is my belief too.
Not all UUs believe in God, many don’t. In the middle of the last century most didn’t. But this is where I am in my formation now.